Introducing the first Queer Graduate Student Caucus

With Pride Month upon us, isn’t it time that York’s queer-identifying grad students had a space of their own?

Janelle Curry

That’s what Janelle Curry (MA candidate in Social Anthropology) realized. Curry is the founder of the Queer Graduate Student Caucus at YorkU, the first group of its kind of York’s grad students. Aiming to launch at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year, the caucus will provide queer grad students with a vital space for community-building.

“I was kinda shocked we didn’t already have one at York,” says Curry. “I contacted TBL Gay at York and they said it was very specifically for undergraduates. I thought there was a need for this.” Many have already agreed: the nascent group is receiving support from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the York University Graduate Students’ Association.

The group will offer regular events and networking opportunities, and will help queer-identifying students navigate challenges that are distinct to the graduate level. “I think TBL Gay does a very good job with their events, and it seems like things that I would love if I were 18 and doing an undergrad. But at this level, it’s lot of professionalization. It’s a lot of how to navigate a space like this in your career, or applying for PhDs and knowing which schools will allow you to be yourself and where you’ll get pushback. The difficulties of having a personal life in graduate studies are very different,” says Curry.

“When I was applying for graduate studies, I had a prof who said that academia was incredibly heteronormative. … Even in the first month, I had an interaction with a prof that was just a misunderstanding—nothing wrong—but I did feel like I would like to speak to other queer graduate students to see if this happens often, and how we can navigate this heteronormative space.”

To learn more about the Queer Graduate Student Caucus at YorkU, email qgscyork@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page.

A statement from President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton on Pride Month 2019

The pride flag

The pride flagThe following message is issued to the community by York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton:

Every June, York University is proud to celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA community during Pride Month and join Toronto, Canada and the world in affirming our dedication to building more inclusive communities for all.

We are proud of the University’s long tradition of championing access, equity and diversity through our innovative academic programming, impactful research and engaging creative activities. At York, our commitment to improving access extends beyond our classrooms, studios and laboratories; we are equally committed to providing the resources, services and supportive community that will ensure all students, staff and faculty members feel safe, included and empowered to achieve their full academic and personal potential. I invite you to learn more about the resources that are available to York community members.

Throughout the month, the University will highlight extraordinary individuals from the York community who are making a difference for 2SLGBTQIA communities. Faculty of Education Professor Jen Gilbert’s Beyond Bullying Project is one such example. In understanding the inextricable link between education and social equity, Professor Gilbert worked to set up private booths in schools in Minneapolis, New York and San Francisco where students, teachers and administrators could share stories about their sexuality. The stories collected demonstrate the vital role the education system can play in supporting 2SLGBTQIA youth. Visit about.yorku.ca/pride-month to learn about other York initiatives and events taking place at York and in the community throughout June.

As we celebrate our 2SLGBTQIA community and the tremendous impact they have both on and off York’s campuses, this month also serves as an important reminder of the challenges they have overcome, and the challenges still faced by this community today. Pride Month also reminds us of the role we can play as allies to work toward more diverse, inclusive and accessible higher education.

Happy Pride Month, York!

Pride at York U kicks off June 20 with flag drop

The pride flag
The Pride Flag will fly at York University during Pride month, the flag drop will take place June 20 at 3:30pm

York University community members are invited to stand proudly with the LGBTQ2+* communities this week during PRIDE Toronto festivities.

York@Pride events are organized by The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), The Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (REI), York Federation of Students (YFS), Trans, Bi, Lesbian & Gay Allies at York (TBLGAY), Glendon Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (GLgbt*), and the SexGen York committee.

Pride festivities at York University officially kick off on the Keele campus with a Flag Drop Opening Ceremony and Reception on June 20, from 3:30 to 4:30pm, in the Student Centre. All are welcome.

Events continue on June 21 with a Summer Jam Pride Barbeque, from 4:30 to 8:30pm in the Catalpa Court located behind the Student Centre. Also on Wednesday, the Trans Bisexual Lesbian Gay Asexual at York (TBLGAY), a student-run organization, is hosting a Pride potluck dinner and movie night at the TBLGAY Office, Room 449a, Student Centre.

York University community members are invited to join the Trans* Pride Rally and March on June 23 at the North Stage Intersection of Church and Isabella in downtown Toronto. The rally begins at 7pm and the march starts at 8pm.

On June 24, the festivities continue with the Pride Community Street Fair on Church Street. The fair starts at 10am and continues until 6pm. As part of PRIDE Toronto events, University community members are invited to the Dyke March on Saturday at 2pm. The march begins at Church and Bloor.

PRIDE Toronto events wrap with the Pride Parade on June 25 at 2pm. The parade starts at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor at 2pm and continues to Dundas Square.

Want to be part of the festivities? Join York@Pride at the Trans* Pride Rally and March, the Dyke March, and Pride Parade or volunteer at the Streetfair booth. Contact YFS Campaigns & Equity, campaigns@yfs.ca for more information on how you can march with York University in the parade. Bring your re-usable water bottles as it is going to be hot.

York@Pride is supported by the Office of the Vice-Provost Students, AGYU, REI, YFS, TBLGAY and the SexGen Committee. For more information on the events, contact Suzanne Carte, assistant curator, AGYU, at 416-736-5169 or by email to scarte@yorku.ca.

* LGBTQ2+ is an abbreviation used to represent a broad array of identities such as, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited, pansexual, asexual, gender and sexual minorities and allies.

Trans* refers to a person whose gender identity is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. Community members who may self-identify as trans can be transgender, transsexual, intersex, third gender, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, bigender, or any other identity that is not cisgender (cisgender people are those whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth).

Opening ceremonies for York University Pride set for June 27

Pride flag and the Canadian flag flying in unisonThe York University community officially kicks off Pride celebrations on Monday, June 27 with a Flag Drop at the Keele and Glendon campuses.

The official Glendon campus Flag Drop Ceremony takes place from 10 to 11am in the Breezeway, York Hall, B Wing with cake and presentations. The celebrations continue as Pride launches at the Keele campus a Flag Drop ceremony  in the Student Centre from 3:30 to 4:30pm. The LGBTQ+ BBQ will follow courtesy of the York Federation of Students (YFS) and everyone is invited to drop by and enjoy the summer heat outside with a BBQ and live music.

Everyone is invited to drop by and enjoy a Pride Brunch Reception on Tuesday, June 28, from 10 to 11:30am, with invited guests Janet Morrison, York vice-provost students; Sexuality Studies Professor and Gender and Sexuality Coordinator Amar Wahab; and Israa Izzeddin, external coordinator at TBLGAY, as they talk about their ongoing commitment to equity and safety of LGBTQ+ at York University.

On Thursday, June 30, artist, writer, and activist Farrah-Marie Miranda provides the fundamentals needed to understand “What ally-ship looks like”. The workshop is for all individuals wanting to learn about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community and how they can be a part of social change and take a stand against oppression.

The Centre for Human Rights is also hosting ongoing Positive Space training sessions that focus on learning about gender identity and sexual orientation and the impact of homophobia and transphobia. To register for ally session and positive space, visit the REDI Positive Space Training webpage. 

Drop by Vari Hall on Wednesday, June 29 between 12 and 4pm to pick up posters to adorn your office and desk showing your support for LGBTQ+ communities. To help us get in the spirit, Joshua Vettivelu, an artist commissioned by the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) designed a campaign utilizing the language and methods of radical queer movements, alongside student leaders. Vettivelu invites us to shout out our truths. The “This Is Us Now” campaign speaks to the reality of the current political climate and recognizes that all lives have value, all experiences are real, and all survivors are respected.

Keep a look out for York@Pride at the Pride Parade on Sunday, July 3. The parade starts at 2pm at Bloor and Church Streets in downtown Toronto with a route that goes down Yonge Street to Dundas Square. All York students, faculty, staff, and their friends are welcome to jump and dance to the bouncing tracks of DJ Craig Dominic who has created the ultimate mix tape for the occasion. Make sure you dress for the weather and bring sunscreen as the march goes ahead rain or shine.

Uniting and empowering people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, Pride Toronto has become a major Canadian arts and cultural event and the largest Pride celebration in North America. Uniting and empowering people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, York@Pride stands in solidarity with queer communities and their accomplices. Together we will showcase the acceptance, diversity, and inclusivity that York University promotes while welcoming individuality.

Here’s a full list of all events:

  • Glendon Campus Flag RaisingOpening Ceremony & Reception
    Monday June 27, 10 – 11am, Breezeway, York Hall, B Wing
  • Keele Campus Flag Drop – Opening Ceremony & Reception
    Monday June 27, 3:30 – 4:30pm, Student Centre
  • Summer Jam Pride BBQ
    Monday June 27, 4:30 – 8:30pm, Catalpa Court behind the Student Centre
  • York Pride Brunch
    Tuesday, June 28, 10:00 – 11:30am, Kaneff Tower, second floor
  • Display Your Pride Poster Pick-Up
    Wednesday June 29, 12:00 – 4pm, Vari Hall
  • Positive Space Training
    Wednesday, June 29, 2:30 – 4pm, 280N York Lanes
  • What Ally-ship Looks Like Workshops
    Thursday, June 30, 2 – 3pm & 3 to 4pm, 280N York Lanes
  • Trans Pride Rally and March
    Friday, July 1, rally at 7pm, march at 8pm, North Stage, at the intersection of Church and Isabella Streets
  • Pride Community StreetFair
    Saturday, July 2, 11am – 5pm, Church Street
  • Dyke March
    Saturday, July 2, 2pm, Church at Bloor Street
  • Pride Parade
    Sunday, July 3, 2pm, Yonge Street from Bloor to Dundas Square

Want to be part of the festivities? Join us at the Trans Pride Rally and March, Dyke March, and Pride Parade or volunteer at the Streetfair booth.

Contact Melissa Palermo at YFS Campaigns & Equity, at campaigns@yfs.ca, for more information on how you can march with York@Pride in the parade. Bring your re-usable water bottles. It’s going to be hot, hot, hot!

 

York@Pride is generously supported by the Vice-Provost Students, Osgoode Hall Law School, AGYU, Centre for Human Rights, TBLGAY, YFS, GLgbt and the SexGen Committee.